“The CRC Glons was established in 1955; it is a bilingual unit of 211 persons and ensures the integrity of the Belgian and Luxembourg airspace at all times,” said Lieutenant Colonel Ann D’hondt, CRC Commander. “Besides contributing to NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence Systems, my team supports Belgium’s fight against terrorism in the context of 'homeland defence' and facilitates the Belgian Air Force F-16 pilot training program,” she added.
Every air movement is detected and identified; in case of an incident we initiate and coordinate a pertinent response
“From a bunker more than 30 metres underground our operators closely monitor the airspace,” said Major Jurgen Janssens, commander of the CRC’s air defence squadron. “Every air movement is detected and identified; in case of an incident we initiate and coordinate a pertinent response,” he added.
The Belgian radar operators are responsible for establishing the Recognized Air Picture (RAP).
“ We are tracking a wide range of incidents, such as an aircraft losing communications, aircraft in distress, suspicious flight activity over sensitive areas, such as nuclear power plants or the illegal use of drones. The Air Defence Controllers are in direct contact with the Quick Reaction Alert Interceptors (QRA(I)), two armed F-16 fighters on 24/7 stand-by, ready to take off within 15 minutes, whenever necessary ,” he added.
“The CRC staff participates in operational commitments abroad, e.g. during Belgian deployments in support of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing, and provides specialized personnel to NATO units such as the Combined Air Operations Centre in Uedem and the NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control Force in Geilenkirchen,” explained Lieutenant Colonel D’hondt. “In all we deploy approximately 20 of our colleagues to these international assignments,” she added.
The CRC is scheduled to relocate to new state-of-the-art facilities at Beauvechain Air Base, in the second half of this year. Preparations are well underway even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Once operational at Beauvechain, the CRC will also host the National Airspace Security Centre (NASC). This interdepartmental centre brings together the military, police, FPS Mobility and customs to centrally collect and analyse all air incident related information and distribute it to the relevant services.